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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fight for our public libraries

This is the most important issue to crop up on the Archive for quite some time -  there was a day of action held on 5th February to protest at the planned closures of many UK libraries. The closure of over 400 libraries and 45 mobile libraries has already been confirmed by the Conservative government in their bid to make cuts in public services - all together now - fucking Tories!

The Bookseller Magazine has got behind a campaign to get ministers to think again. Why should libraries suffer for the years of mismanegement by governments who claim the harsh cuts are required to  lower the deficit?

 Author Phillip Pullman - "Every encounter with a library is a personal one. Everyone finds a different sort of joy in the library, a different sort of pleasure. You never forget your first encounter with libraries … If libraries are important to you, in a personal way – if you remember your first encounter with libraries, write it down and send it to your local councillor. and your MP. and the Cuts Alliance. The more stories of this kind that we have, the powerful the case will be that we make."

Please voice your support for public libraries HERE  - Don't worry if you are not UK based, the more names the better. The petition is organised by Voices for you Library, a pressure group challenging this dreadful situation.



Defending Libraries (Michael Chanan) from New Statesman on Vimeo.


Also join THE BOOKSELLER'S FIGHT FOR LIBRARIES FACEBOOK PAGE

Fight For Libraries Campaign

The Bookseller's campaign aims to provide a focal point for campaigners, librarians and the book trade to Fight For Libraries. Please use this page to post your campaign links and views. Together we have a stronger voice. Please read our manifesto and demands. You can also follow on Twitter @fight4libraries

Manifesto

We are fighting for public libraries because they form an essential seed-bed for the wider reading culture of the nation, a culture from which the whole of society benefits.
Libraries seed communities with books and ideas in a way which is irreplaceable. They provide books to people who wouldn’t otherwise see or afford them, the youngest in society, the oldest, and people on low incomes. They also provide free internet access to the 27% of the population who still aren’t online at home.
Libraries are also a forum where authors and readers can come together in a neutral, unbiased space - free from commercial pressures.
Most importantly they are curated by professional librarians who provide expert guidance for readers, helping people find the books and information they need, again free from commercial considerations.
Readers, reading and the values imparted are essential to any civilised society – indeed it seems impossible to conceive a civilisation without libraries.
We oppose the arbitrary, disproportionate and wantonly destructive nature of the cuts to the national library service now underway, and we will do everything we can to mobilise the entire book world in libraries’ defence.

Demands

1) We support both the letter and the spirit of the 1964 Public Libraries Act, which stipulates that local authorities have a duty to maintain a comprehensive and efficient library service for all their residents.
2) We support library users in all their various campaigns to defend local libraries, including the call for a national public enquiry into the library service by Steve Ross.
3) We maintain that libraries should not be singled out for cuts disproportionate to the budget cuts being made in their local authority. Indeed, given their special importance to users at times of economic difficulty, they deserve protection.
4) When savings have to be made, we want to see council chiefs look at their own senior salaries and back office costs before cutting professional librarian posts or closing libraries.
5) We want to see decisive leadership from the Government to support, preserve and improve library services – and a clear strategy to achieve that.

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